Clarification sought over California lumber
The West Coast Lumber & Building Material Association continues to offer guidance to pro dealer members in the wake of a$1.6 million Lowe’s settlement regarding alleged violations of dimensional lumber descriptions.
In a letter to members from WCLBMA executive director Ken Dunham offered advice on how to avoid run-ins with the state agencies when it comes to labeling and advertising products.
“For lumber dealers, it appears the first action is to make certain that any dimensional lumber received by your business from suppliers has the quantity of items in the shipment, and that the supplier has also listed the material’s nominal and actual sizes on that invoice. This information is generally the first information requested by CA Division of Measurement Standards in the event of an investigation.”
“If the product is a non-standard item, it must be clearly labeled with the actual size information and may not be referred to in the common nominal terms for lumber identified in PS 20-10.”
PS 20-10 refers to the National Institute of Standards & Technology/American Softwood Lumber Standard “Voluntary Product Standard PS 20-10.”
For the full WCLBMA letter,click here.
Dunham adds: “It remains unclear if requiring actual andnominal sizes being posted at the product display location, in advertising materials or on other documents, is necessary, as was required in the Lowe’s judgment. The WCLBMA has requested additional clarification on this matter.”
The association is continuing to seek further clarification, he said.
A deputy district attorney involved in the case said that companies are within their rights to describe softwood dimensional lumber in nominal terms, as opposed to actual terms. But when it comes to composite materials, the actual must be used.
Regarding Lowe’s case, Dunham’s note explains: “While not all of the details of the allegations are known, it would appear that the complaint against Lowe’s involved certain products that are not generally regarded as ‘wood’ being labeled as such, and it also appears that certain other lumber products sold may not have been correctly labeled. It is not solely a matter of product labeling that was incorrect. This is a long-standing complaint that was just recently resolved."
ABC Supply opens branches
Four new units expanded the ABC Supply building products footprint around the country, including the company’s first location in Vermont.
Beloit, Wisconsin-based ABC Supply opened branches in Omaha, Nebraska; Nampa, Idaho; North Clarendon, Vermont; and Charleston, West Virginia.
The Nampa store serves the Treasure Valley-Boise area. The Omaha branch, on the city’s north side, is the company’s third in the city. The Vermont store is centrally located near Rutland and is ABC Supply’s first branch in the state. The Charleston branch is ABC Supply’s third location in West Virginia. All stores carry shingles and related roofing supplies. Other product offerings are determined by local market conditions.
“It’s an exciting time at ABC Supply,” said ABC Supply president and CEO Keith Rozolis. “We look forward to bringing the ABC brand of service to these new markets, and we’re glad to be creating opportunities for both new and existing ABC associates.”
The four newest branches are in addition to those opened earlier this year in La Crosse, Wisconsin; Denton, Texas; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Columbia, Tennessee; Calcutta, Ohio; Billings, Montana, and Fargo, North Dakota.
Wanted: Commitment from suppliers
There are many paths to a lumberyard operator’s vendor list. But perhaps the best way is to sum up and distill the remarks from a a recent panel of pro dealers.
Looking at the big picture, a panel of lumberyard operators shared what they felt was the most important part of that relationship.
In a word, the main thing they need from a supplier: “commitment.”
Commitment includes being a resource for quick answers to immediate questions, or longer-term education, according to Mike Moore, co-owner and VP materials management at TW Perry, a six-unit lumberyard based in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
“The most important thing is they need to be a resource for our sales team,” said Moore. “That’s No. 1, and that it kind of flows down from there. If they are a resource for our guys, then they are going to get repeat business. And from there, it’s about the right programs, rebates, and payment terms and other things.”
At Atlanta-based BMC, VP sales and marketing Keith Costello said the commitment his company seeks begins with consistent and timely delivery of product.
He also described the importance of “coming out with cutting-edge technology,” bringing competitive advantages to the table and making it clear what those are.
On the “don’t” list, he described last-minute notices on price increases.
Dan Fesler, CEO of 33-unit Lampert Yards pointed to a multi-faceted list of supplier “do’s.” Among them, providing the right product at the best price. There’s also the proper delivery schedule and product rebates when appropriate.
“It’s really committing to us so that we don’t run out of product,” Fesler said.
“We need to be priced competitively. We need guaranteed delivery. I think the technology is going to be huge and so is training and support. Those people who can provide that in spades are going to be our going-forward suppliers.”
The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association organized the panel.